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Air Canada Plans to Squeeze More Seats onto B787-9


Air Canada sees high-density planes as a good strategy to cut costs and assist with international expansion.

Air Canada has announced plans to tightly configure its new fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, according to a report from Business Traveler. The airline has ordered 22 of the new aircraft, with deliveries scheduled to begin in early 2015.

While the Boeing website points to a passenger capacity of 280 for the 787-9, Air Canada plans to squeeze in a whopping 298 passengers across a three-class configuration, with 30 in business, 21 in premium economy and 247 in economy. The increased capacity of the economy section, which features a 3-3-3 layout, will stem from seats with a meager 17.3” width and pitches of 30” to 31”, depending on their location in the cabin.

The airline, with its global strategy of international expansion and cost control, regards the fuel-efficient aircraft and its high-density seating as a good fit. In an interview with the Financial Post, Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu stated that “high-density planes have turned out to be a great strategy for us,” stressing that the aircraft are a key part of his plan to cut expenses per seat mile flown by 15 percent over five years.

Air Canada began experimenting with high-density aircraft in 2013 by installing 458 seats on its Boeing 777. Rovinescu credits the increased passenger capacity with turning underperforming routes, such as Montreal–Paris, into moneymakers. In addition to Montreal-Paris, the airline also operates high-density 777s on the Vancouver–Hong Kong, Vancouver–London and Vancouver–Shanghai routes.

To date, Air Canada has announced only one dedicated route for the new 787-9. The aircraft will operate between Toronto and Delhi beginning in November 2015.

[Photo: Air Canada]

Comments are Closed.
capebretonboy December 16, 2014

Air Canada just keeps getting worse and worse. Such a disappointment. 30 inch seat pitch on an international flight is borderline criminal. Governments everywhere should be regulating this inhumane treatment of passengers! It's outrageous. I also love how the stock marketing photo (compliments of AC no doubt) is completely misleading and makes their sardine class look comfortable. Bunch of lies from a company that can barely be trusted...only with safety.

DrunkCargo December 16, 2014

I noticed the photo used in the article has some aspect ratio issues... if the 3-3-3 cabin has that much legroom, what am I doing in J?

stevescott1983 December 15, 2014

Good to know that they plan the YVR-LHR route to be high density as I am booking for my family to go next summer. AC just made my choice easy - going to book on BA!

Skipcool3 December 15, 2014

BA operate the 787-8'with high density seating, 30-31 pitch......Plenty of complaints !

bigjon94 December 15, 2014

Only a matter of time until they start to just convert the entire fleet to Rouge. This sounds awful.